Jessica Frotten takes seventh in 200m to start worlds

With only one event done, Whitehorse's Jessica Frotten has already achieved her main goal at the International Paralympic Committee Athletics World Championships in Doha, Qatar, this week.

With only one event done, Whitehorse’s Jessica Frotten has already achieved her main goal at the International Paralympic Committee Athletics World Championships in Doha, Qatar, this week.

The para wheelchair racer made a final on the first day of competition, at her first world championship. She went on to take seventh place finish in the women’s 200-metre T53 final on Thursday.

Frotten has three more events to go and will race them with less nerves to cramp her style, she said in a message to the News on Wednesday.

“Tomorrow is the big day! I’m pretty nervous, but I think I will feel better once I get the first race out of the way. The stadium is beautiful here in Doha. I’ve only done a few laps on the competition track. I’ve been doing the majority of my training on the warm up track.

“I’m feeling good and I think I might finally be used to the heat.”

The 27-year-old sped to seventh in the 200 final with a time of 33.07 seconds, more than a second ahead of eight place’s Keiko Konishi of Japan. Canadian teammate Ilana Dupont placed fifth. Angela Ballard of Australia took the gold.

Frotten qualified for the final with a third-place finish in a semifinal, posting a time of 33.64, earlier on Thursday.

Her personal best for the 200 is 32:35, which she set in Switzerland this past summer. She is currently ranked eighth in the world for the 200 in the IPC standings.

Frotten will race the 100-metre semifinal on Friday with the hope of making Saturday’s final. She will then race the 400 on Sunday, the 800 semi on Monday and, if she qualifies, the 800 final on Tuesday.

Frotten is one of 35 athletes and just 12 females on the Canadian team in Doha. The team participated in a two-week training camp in Dubai leading up to the worlds.

“The Dubai camp was really beneficial,” said Frotten. “The first few training days there I was pretty sure I was going to die! The heat here is so intense. It’s like working out in a very hot sauna. I was playing around with a bigger set of push rims as well. I thought they might be a secret weapon, but by the end of the camp I felt more comfortable on my smaller ones.”

When Frotten was named to the team in September, she called herself a “rookie” – which she is. Frotten has come a long way in an incredibly short amount of time. Her teammate Dupont, for example, won hardware at the 2008 Paralympics in Beijing.

She pocketed her first track wins in the spring of 2013 at a meet in Victoria, B.C., became a Canadian champion in 2014 and has now established herself as one of the top athletes in her sport.

Frotten qualified for worlds with her performance at the Toronto 2015 Parapan American Games in August. In Toronto she won medals in two of her three events. She captured bronze in the women’s 400-metre with a personal best time of 1:01.13 and bronze in the 100-metre, just 0.62 seconds behind Dupont. She also took fourth in the 800-metre.

Though no longer a stranger to international competition, a world championship is really something else, she said.

“It’s cool to see all the different countries here. I have never seen so many wheelchair racers on the track before. There is some really tough competition here! I’m excited to get this party started!”

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